It's been almost two years since digital radio was officially launched in Australia, which means it's probably a good time to check in and see how the technology has been coming along. Fortunately, a new report into the Digital Radio industry has plenty of information on how the tech's progressing, including some very interesting stats.
After surveying more than 60,000 people about their radio listening habits, the report gets some good insights into how digital radio is faring in 2011. Perhaps the most striking statistic is that 5.6% of radio listeners (or about 691,000 people) listen to DAB+ radio, an increase of about 242,000 people over the previous year.
Of the surveyed people, those listening to DAB+ spend an average of 11 hours and 11 minutes each week, rocking out to digital Alan Jones, which is about twice as much time as people spend listening to Internet radio. That said, analogue is still the most popular radio access method, despite experiencing a slight drop over the past 12 months.
Another interesting factoid is that it's actually the older generation leading the charge. People aged over 55 spent on average 15 hours and 34 minutes listening to DAB+, which probably isn't too much of a surprise when you consider another stat that 76% of digital radio listening happens at home, compared to 12% at work and 8% in the car.
But what about the future of digital radio? The report offers some insights into that as well. PwC was commissioned to see what kind of uptake DAB+ can expect, and they think by 2014 household digital radio playback will be about 16%, although they hedge their bet about the accuracy.
More interesting than the household take up is the emphasis on in-car DAB+, which has started to pop up here and there over recent months. Commercial broadcasters are even offering the car industry bonus airtime to any manufacturer that integrates DAB+ into new vehicles. Ultimately this is one of the biggest hurdles to mainstream adoption of digital radio, so the more incentives the commercial radio stations offer the better for the whole industry.
The technology has come a long way in a short time, but ultimately it's still got a long way to go. It will be interesting to see what the next few years bring.